Like stress? Try DIY

I’m not talking about putting up a couple of wonky shelves here. Oh no. As you may recall, I had been without heating or hot water for three weeks. The repairs were covered by British Gas, who eventually (after several ‘robust’ telephone conversations) sorted someone out to fix it last monday. This involved moving the lounge radiator to a different wall and running a new section of pipe to it. As a result I was left with two pretty deep holes in my floor (which is concrete, despite being on the second floor). My cover didn’t include making good, so this weekend it was off to B&Q and a spot of repair work. It was not a good day. And my choice of career was once again vindicated – I would be a truly awful builder.

Most of the day was spent either (a) panicking, or (b) waiting. I now know far more than I ever wanted to about how to prepare a concrete floor for filling, including the exact ratio of water to PVA needed to seal it (3:1) or form a bonding coat (1:1). I also know that self-leveling floor filler requires a hole deeper than 6mm to be filled with pea gravel to a depth of 5mm below the surface. Fascinating. Hah.

Of course no DIY story would be complete without a humorous cock-up, so I went the extra mile and had two. Firstly, about halfway through the day I locked myself out of my bedroom when the door first swung open, hitting the door stop (which is at the exact height to activate the push-button lock thingy on the inside handle), then swung closed. With my keys inside. That was the low point of the day. I took a screwdriver to it. It didn’t last long.

The second error was failing to realise just how much filler it would take (despite buying a huge tub of it, which I thought would be about 50% too large), leaving the second hole with about a centimetre to go. Naturally by this time it was too late to do anything about it. Luckily I was too drained to care. But on the bright side, it does mean I get to have almost as much fun tomorrow evening as I did yesterday. Can’t wait…

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